Paola, one of the best fencer in Mexico, has decided to give up competing under the flag of her country because of the mistreatment that is the object on the part of sports leaders. The patience of Pliego has reached the limit after demonstrating that the positive in an anti-doping control that motivated his exclusion from the Rio Games, was due to an "error" of the Mexican laboratories. Not only that. Pliego denounces that the directors of her country make her life impossible: they segregate her from the national team in the trips and do not register her in the tournaments for which she qualified. Fed up with the situation, the Mexican fencer has decided to be nationalized by Uzbekistan.
After more than three years of a constant fight against the system, the situation placed the athlete in a dead end: "Either I left Mexico to compete or I had my whole life frustrated watching how others could compete and I no, imagining that I could have reached more, but knowing that they would not let me ", explains the fencer in a telephone conversation with EL PAÍS. "Always with that resentment and frustration. It was at that moment when I said enough. I did not want to give up and that's why I made the decision to compete for Uzbekistan. I understood that I fight more for my country leaving. There is always one more solution. "
The viacrucis de Pliego began one month before Rio 2016. He was with the Mexican team at a rally in Houston. He was notified via e-mail that he had tested positive for a substance called Modafinil. "That day I opened my e-mail and saw that I had a message from the International Fencing Federation (FIE) that the Anti-Doping Committee said. Down indicated "urgent" in red. The text stated: 'We want to inform you that you are temporarily suspended for having tested positive in an anti-doping control at the Pan American Games held two months ago in the team competition.' The study was carried out by the laboratory of CONADE (National Commission of Physical Culture and Sports).
After the news, the president of the Mexican Federation of Fencing (FME), Jorge Castro, called her. "He told me: 'Oh my Pao, what a bad thing happened to you. Someone from the Dominican Republic or Canada (from teams that did not qualify) put something in your water. Then, well, no way. I can only warn you that I can not support someone who is doped, so we left it there. ' That was the last time in my life that I talked to him, "he explains.
The fencer left the concentration and hired the lawyer Ricardo de Buen for the case. The news was leaked in the media. "In the mail was the president of the CONADE – Alfredo Castillo – and the president of the FME – Jorge Castro -. Some of them broke the news and everyone began to say: 'Paola doped, Paola did this, Paola does not go to Rio'. All this came to me at once, all very negative ".
On August 4, she was scheduled to open sample B in the CONADE laboratory. It must be confidential. But Castillo posted it on his Twitter account. While that was happening, the Mexican Olympic Committee (COM) and the FME erased the name of the team athlete for Rio. "They did not wait for the results of the second sample to come out." The result was the same: positive. But a month and a half after the Games, everything changed. "I received an e-mail from the FIE. There they explained to me what they had done with my two tests. They took my samples A and B and took them to the laboratory in Germany, the largest in the WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency).
Either I left Mexico to compete or I had my whole life frustrated. It was at that moment when I said enough
They analyzed them. They opened one and found nothing. They opened the other and the same. They had always been completely clean. They told me they would forgive me and that I could compete again. They explained to me that it had been a mistake in the laboratory in Mexico, "says Pliego.
"No one contacted me. Nobody told me anything. I had to talk to them and I said: 'Hey, I do not know if they know what happened. Your laboratory was wrong. They left me without my Olympics. You left me out of Rio. "
Alfredo Castillo invited me to talk to him. That time they took someone with a folder from the laboratory and they said: 'Yes, it was a mistake. In fact, we did the test badly and a substance that was not there came out. ' They did not even ask for my forgiveness, nor did they find out what happened. Nothing, "continues the fencer.
After he was granted forgiveness by WADA, the fencer returned to the competition. Despite the fact that Carlos Padilla – COM president – told him that he was going to give him all the facilities for Tokyo 2020, Paola came across a different reality: "They took me from Italy to Mexico with my coaches. They put me in a room and one of them said to me: 'And do you think that because of what happened to you, you deserve a path of roses and flowers so that you arrive like a princess to the Olympians?' And I told them that of course, but not just me, all the athletes. "
Paola denounces that the FME tried to reduce its performance: "Jorge Castro did his best to make me uncomfortable in my life. I was traveling and there was no one waiting for me at the airport, they did not tell me which hotel was the team, they left me there. He asked the organization to write letters arguing that I had refused to get on the bus and they told me what the hotel was and that I had not wanted to go. " In spite of everything, Paola took the gold as much in individual as in equipment in the Central American Championship. The president of the COM promised him that the unfair treatment was over and that he would be registered at the Colombian Games in 2018. However, he did not see his name again in any official competition. In those Games, Mexico went to zero in Fencing.
The qualifiers for Tokyo began and Paola only watched from the screen. Frustration washed over her. Months later, he was recommended to change his country to stop suffering all this type of injustice. "I'm not going to leave my country. Why, when I win something, I will not listen to my national anthem? Why do I have to leave through the back door? I want to represent my country, I want my family to be proud when they hear their national anthem. I always think that in Mexico we are more good than bad, "said the athlete. But in the end, tired, frustrated and fed up with the situation, she decided to change her passport. "It was at that moment when I said enough. I'm going". The name of Paola Pliego already appears in the team of Uzbekistan for the Budapest World Fencing Championship 2019. Mexico lost a real Olympic medal option due to bad administrative management and elevated egos of its leaders.